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Synopsis

In these days many strange, true stories about animals are being written and read, but it seems to me that some of our most intimate and interesting animal companions are being overlooked. So I have tried to write about a few of them. These stories are true. I know this, for Mary and I have really seen almost everything I have told; and they seem to us strange. If there have slipped into the stories occasional slight attempts to show some reason for the strange things or to point an unobtrusive moral, it is because the teacher's habit has overcome the story-teller's intention. So the slips may be pardoned. Of course I recognize that it is taking great chances nowadays with one's reputation for honesty and truth-telling to write or tell stories about animal behavior. Nature writers seem to be held, as a class, not to be above suspicion. But is a truthful man to be kept silent by criticism or abuse, or, on the other hand, is he to surrender, even for cash, to bad examples? I call out, "No!" and beat on the table as I say this until the pens and paper hop, and Mary asks, "No what?" Which reminds me that I must make some exception to my sweeping declaration of the truth of the whole of this little book. I am not responsible for Mary! She is, bless her, a child of dreams, and sometimes her dreams get into her talk. So some of Mary in this book is fancy; but the beasties and their doings areI say it againtrue, quite true. V. L. K. Stanford University, California

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